Last updated on October 27th, 2022 at 12:22 pm
White trainers are one wardrobe classic that everyone ought to own. The unsung heroes of fashion, you can dress them up or down with ease no matter what time of year.
However, the versatility of the quintessential white trainer combo can sometimes be its downfall. If you’ve ever owned a pair yourself, you may know the frustration of trying your best to keep them in their original crisp white condition.
Discover our tips and tricks for how to clean white trainers and white canvas shoes, helping you keep that brand new brightness for longer.
What’s on this page:
- How to clean white leather trainers
- How to clean white canvas shoes
- How to whiten your trainers and shoes
- Top tips for protecting white trainers and shoes
How to clean white leather trainers
White leather trainers look great with almost any outfit, adding a touch of laid-back style to retro jeans or a floral dress. The leather gives your feet support and can even offer some weather-resistance for everyday use. But like any white shoes, these practical staples get grubby easier than we’d like.
Being made from leather, it’s important to know how to clean them when they do become more off-white than white. Reliable as it is, leather needs a little extra care to clean away the scuffs and marks. Follow our tips for restoring your faithful white leather trainers below.
- Gently brush away dirt
If your white leather trainers are particularly well-loved and join you on walks in all weather conditions, there’s a good chance they may be muddy. Allow them to dry and clap the soles together to release any cakey mud. Then carefully scrape any dirt on the soles or the leather upper with the back of an old knife.
- Remove the laces and leave to soak
Fresh laces are one of the easiest ways to revive your favourite white trainers. Remove the laces and set them aside in a diluted solution of water and laundry detergent. This can get soaking while you crack on with the rest of your trainers.
- Clean the leather upper
Using a microfibre cloth, gently wipe down the leather upper with a diluted mix of water and washing up liquid. Use circular motions to clean away any stubborn scuffs. Dry off any soap with another clean microfibre cloth. You can use newspaper on the inside to soak up any moisture and hold their shape as you do this.
Top tip: If your shoes are made from nubuck leather, use a specific leather safe cleaner instead of your soap and water solution. If they are suede, avoid water and use a soft suede brush to clean.
- Scrub the soles
Clean the rubber soles of your shoes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and an equal mix of non-gel white toothpaste, baking soda and lukewarm water. Measure one tablespoon of each, and gently scrub the mix along the soles of your shoes in circular motions. Carefully wipe away any excess with a clean damp cloth, then dry off with another clean cloth.
- Allow to air dry
If your trainers are damp, let them air-dry by opening them up and leaving them until completely dry. Once you set them aside to dry, scrub your soaking laces gently to remove any stubborn dirt.
If you think your laces are a lost cause, white laces are affordable and easy to come by – brightening up your shoes just like new. It’s also a fun opportunity to try out some new shoelace styles.
Can you put white trainers in the washing machine?
No. You should never clean your white trainers in the washing machine. Tempting as it may be, putting your white leather trainers in the washing machine can warp the shape and cause the glue to melt, which can make them fall apart.
How to clean white canvas shoes
White canvas shoes are just as handy and equally timeless, perfect for throwing on at a moment’s notice. Knowing how to clean white canvas shoes is useful to keep them looking their best.
It’s easy to clean the rubber soles the same as with leather shoes. But did you know the canvas upper can be revitalised in various ways?
- Washing up liquid – A gentle solution of water and washing up liquid can help remove light dirt.
- Lemon juice – Only to be used on canvas kicks, do not use lemon juice on leather or suede. Try spraying a touch of lemon juice on your canvas shoes and leave them in the sun. The acidity will break down any dirt causing the shoes to look stained.
- Laundry detergent – For extra stubborn stains, laundry detergent can lift dirt when diluted with water. Allow the solution to sit on the shoes for a few minutes, then use a clean cloth to wipe them clean and dry.
How to whiten your trainers and shoes
If daily wear and tear is causing your white trainers to look less than their best, it’s useful to know how to clean trainers and store them properly. That way, you can help them stay looking new for longer.
What causes my white shoes to turn blue?
White shoes are often stained blue through the transfer of colour from our jeans. That could be due to wearing or storing the two together regularly. The best way to remove blue stains from your white leather shoes is with a cotton bud and some clear nail polish remover.
How do you clean white trainers that have gone yellow?
It’s not uncommon for white canvas shoes and trainers to turn yellow over time, They can become prone to discolouration as they come into contact with more things that can transfer colour to them.
You can help restore discoloured white trainers by leaving them out in the sun to bleach naturally. Stain removing detergent can also help improve the colour of white canvas shoes – just make sure all detergent is washed away before exposing to sunlight.
Top tips for protecting white trainers and shoes
Regular maintenance can help you keep your white trainers looking sharp. Here are a few handy tips for protecting your white trainers and shoes in the long run:
- Balm – Protect your white leather shoes by using a clear coloured leather balm after cleaning to buff out any scuffs and prevent the leather from drying out.
- Protective spray – Useful for suede and nubuck leather to minimise water damage or further staining.
- Wax – Cover the upper part of your white canvas shoes using a clear or white candle. Once completely covered, use a hairdryer to melt the wax into the shoe. This can protect against stains and dirt build-up, and also helps with waterproofing shoes and boots.
Whether you’re on a dog walk, catching an event or going out for a meal, white trainers are a certified classic that can quickly save an outfit dilemma. So, fear not if your faithful friends have taken on a bit of their environment with them. It’s easy to learn how to clean white trainers with a little TLC.